A fight is brewing between German auto maker BMW and its union over plans to invest $400 million in a U.S. plant. During a recent trip to the proposed Spartanburg (S.C.) site, BMW Chief Executive Eberhard von Kuenheim swore to keep organized labor out. But Germany's powerful, 4 million-member ig Metall union now says it will help the United Auto Workers organize the luxury carmakers planned South Carolina factory.

Von Kuenheim, however, is eager to maintain the one-third cost advantage he stands to reap by producing in the U.S. by employing young, largely nonunionized workers and is likely to hang tough.

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